The Diary

Religiously incorrect reindeer

By Simon Rocker, December 22, 2011

When Adam Benjamin walked into a West End of London shop and asked about Chanucah cards, he was offered a "Chanukmas" selection for those who celebrate both Christmas and the Jewish festival of lights.

But beside pictures of Santa Claus lighting a menorah and "Three Weiss Men", he was stunned to find a card featuring Rudolph, "the hook-nosed reindeer".

Mr Benjamin complained that the card wa

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Inmates' porridge and latkes

By Simon Rocker, December 15, 2011

The cells of Jewish prisoners will be a little brighter next week, as Liberal Judaism providers inmates with their own menorah and candles.

Cellmates can play a wholesome game of dreidel with the "gelt" provided in Liberal Judaism's Chanucah packs, put together by Liberal Judaism's university chaplain Rabbi Ariel J Friedlander and student worker Adam Francies.

Students in 30 different cities

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Putting her house on winning

By Simon Rocker, December 15, 2011

Manchester architect Lisa Raynes is putting her own home, replete with proud mezuzah, on the line as a contestant on the ITV finale of "May The Best House Win" on December 23.

The mother-of-three, whose children attend North Cheshire Jewish Primary, said she was "petrified by how I'll come across."

The style certainly sounds like a winning theme, described by Ms Raynes as "Chorlton boho ecl

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Entertaining Mr Putin

By Simon Rocker, December 15, 2011

It seems a night of klezmer is not the first priority for the Kremlin.

Eclectic Jewish band Oi Va Voi were booked to entertain the annual Jewish Awards Ceremony at the Kremlin next Monday, hosted by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's friend, Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar.

But, according to the band's spokesman, the event was "mysteriously cancelled ostensibly because of insufficient funding."

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We're looking for Anne

By Simon Rocker, December 15, 2011

A "bizarre job advert" was tweeted from Arts Council website, for an Anne Frank lookalike. But the advert is not for a lookalike for appearances at weddings and barmitzvahs, but, rather more tastefully, for the Anne Frank Trust's fundraising film.

Filmmakers are "looking for a girl aged 12-14" with "a clear English voice." Anne, of course, was German by birth and Dutch by upbringing.

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Aviv: Perfect for Chanucah?

By Simon Rocker, December 15, 2011

Tesco Borehamwood has its festivals muddled. A keen-eyed reader noticed the store proudly displaying Aviv Passover matzos - described on the label as "Perfect for Chanucah." Deep-fried matzos anyone?

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Fir deal for fashion designer

By Simon Rocker, December 8, 2011

No, this column has not been taken over by the Church Times, nor is this a dreaded "Chanucah bush".

The 30-foot pine in the picture is the Christmas tree at Claridge's hotel in London which was decorated by Paris-based Israeli fashion designer, Alber Elbaz.

Maybe he should be called in to give a facelift to those giant Lubavitch menorahs.

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Alarming time for Baddiel

By Simon Rocker, December 8, 2011

Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks was repeatedly interrupted when he spoke at the British Ort dinner by an alarm that kept going off.

When fellow guest speaker David Baddiel tweeted about the noisy intrusion, back came a tweet: "I bet that alarm is making a right beth din…"

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Sorrell's talmud treat

By Simon Rocker, December 8, 2011

Could Sir Martin Sorrell yet be a rabbi in the making? The advertising supremo was a guest on Radio 4's Desert Island Discs at the weekend.

When asked what book he would like to take to his castaway refuge beside the Bible and Shakespeare, he chose the Talmud.

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Elizabeth Taylor's golden gift

By Simon Rocker, December 8, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor's wedding ring, given to her by Richard Burton, could fetch a £1 million when it is auctioned at Christie's in New York next week - but its London-based Jewish jeweller has revealed the actor paid just £8,000 for it.

The actor bought the band of white gold from Ivor Gordon in South Africa in 1975, the week before he married Dame Elizabeth a second time.

Mr Gordon, who ran

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